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Internet based education has become much more and more popular within the last decade. It took a while to catch on because it required a major shift in thinking from traditional ways of teaching in a classroom. By definition, online degrees are degrees that are earned entirely, or primarily, online, at home, rather than attending classes at a college or university. The widespread use of the internet worldwide has led to a proliferation of online colleges and degrees, including associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The Internet offers many resources for Internet based education, including tutorial, virtual classroom, project and event-based education and correspondence courses. Degrees may be earned completely online or the Internet can be used as a supplement to more traditional ways classroom work. Internet based education is often very convenient for adult students because it offers a more flexible schedule and the ability to work from home. However, it’s not just for older students. Children are learning about computers from a very young age and computer classes are being implemented into classes - even in grade school. Nicholas Negroponte, in his book Being Digital, wrote: "Today kids are getting the opportunity to be street smart on the Internet, where children are heard and not seen. Ironically, reading and writing will benefit. Children will read and write on the Internet to communicate, not just to complete some abstract and artificial exercise. What I am advocating should not be construed as anti-intellectual or as a disdain for abstract reasonings - it is quite the opposite. The Internet provides a new medium for reaching out to find knowledge and meaning."

Internet based education has introduced new terms and techniques into our schools. For instance, the “virtual” classroom is a class that meets on the Internet using what is called “groupware.” Groupware is software that can link students on different computers using the same system or application to perform a variety of tasks. Some experts divide groupware into three categories: communication tools such as email and fax, conferencing tools such as video conferencing and chat rooms, and collaborative management tools such as electronic calendars.

An Internet based education is especially convenient for individuals living with physical disabilities, those serving in the military or those living abroad and people with busy work schedules. As for the quality of an online education, there is fundamentally little difference between listening to a lecture on a webcast video to being physically in the classroom. There is some debate among professionals as to quality of online degrees versus on-campus degrees, but this is largely a matter of public perception. A survey by the Distance Education and Training Council found that “100 percent of employers who responded felt that distance education program graduates performed better on the job as a result of their degree and that an employee receiving a distance education degree compared favorably, in terms of knowledge learned, to someone with a resident degree.”



 


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